Feeling your age, and then some? Find out how top holistic health experts look and feel younger.
1. Check your thyroid
“Hypothyroidism (a sluggish thyroid) is a common problem, particularly in women,” says Dr Rebecca Harwin. “It slows down metabolism, brain function, bowel movements, reproductive ability, and more. In fact, the only thing speeding up in hypothyroidism is the ageing process! Iodine deficiency is the leading cause of hypothyroidism, so load your plate with seaweed, oysters, fish and eggs.”
2. Why try whey?
“Consuming whey protein, in protein shakes and bars, increases glutathione (GSH) levels in the body,” explains natural health practitioner Julie O’Connell. “GSH is a primary antioxidant, protecting cells from damage caused by free radicals and fat oxidation. It is also involved in DNA and immune function. Studies show a correlation between stress, depleted GSH and declining health. Oxidative stress also contributes to age-related neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease.”
3. Pick a kiwi
“A new study shows that eating two kiwifruit one hour before bed helps you sleep better,” says wellness expert Nalisha Patel. “Test subjects fell asleep five minutes earlier and slept 40 minutes longer. Sleep is imperative to feeling and looking better, which turns back the clock in many ways!”
4. Sleep yourself younger
“Sleep is one of the most powerful anti-ageing activities you can implement,” agrees Karina Stewart, doctor of traditional Chinese medicine. “The most direct impact between sleep and ageing is linked to the adrenal glands and levels of cortisol and DHEA (hormones produced by the adrenals) in the body. When we don’t get enough sleep we exhaust the adrenal glands and compromise their production of the hormones we need to stay balanced, vital and healthy. The hormone melatonin (produced in the pineal gland) also plays a crucial role in the anti-ageing process, by exerting a powerful antioxidant activity. Regulating our sleep cycle so that we follow the natural cycle of the day - waking early with sunrise and going to bed before 10 p.m. as often as possible - also regulates melatonin production, and this brings your endocrine system back into balance. If you also give up coffee (coffee really taxes the adrenals), you will double the results!”
5. Add antioxidants
“Antioxidants stop free radical damage, so skin looks younger for longer,” says naturopath Lydia Thomas. “Antioxidants are easily added to your diet through foods rich in vitamins A (carrots, pumpkin, leafy greens, liver) and C (chilli, red capsicums, parsley, broccoli, berries), and zinc (pumpkin seeds, oysters, ginger, pecans, walnuts). Vitamin C is also critical in wound healing and is a co-factor for collagen, zinc has powerful effects on immune function and tissue regeneration, and vitamin A is important in cellular turnover, so a lack causes skin to become keratinised and scaly.”
6. Tout a sprout
“Mung bean sprouts and other 'young’ foods are the most concentrated sources of plant hormones called auxins, which stimulate growth of healthy new plant cells,” says nutritionist Paul Harper. “Animal studies show similar effects in increasing production of new, healthy, and youthful cells. Auxins are most concentrated in plant roots, which is why young, growing sprouts are a great source. Mung beans also contain phytoestrogens which stimulate production of skin anti-ageing factors - hyaluronic acid, collagen and elastin. Add sprouts to salads or blend them and apply the liquid as a mask.”
7. Strike a pose
“Yogi Bhajan, who introduced kundalini yoga to the US, says that age is measured by the flexibility of the spine,” says Domini Stuart, creator of Yoga Exercises for Beginners & Beyond. “Performed regularly, gentle exercises to increase flexibility in the back, neck and shoulders can help you gain and maintain the posture, gait and range of movement associated with a young body. Exercises based on kundalini yoga are simple and can be done at your own pace - you can even do some sitting down.”
8. Pump some iron
“Building muscle keeps your metabolism fired and your weight nicely in check; it also helps blood flow to all body areas, and increases levels of human growth hormone which definitely keep you young ,” says personal trainer Gina Basger. “Building muscle keeps your shoulders back and back straight, creating a more youthful physique.”
9. Be true to yourself
“Do what you love: be the person you were before everyone else told you what you should be!” says wellness coach Emily Holmes. "Research shows that you can add seven years to your life if you do what you love and follow your passion."
10. Keep active
“Get up and go outside. Make time to walk, swim, hike, or cycle in nature alone or with friends every week,” says physiotherapist Jason Smith. “Exercising in nature helps prevent arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, back pain and depression, as well as manage blood sugar levels, increase bone density, metabolism, and muscle tone.
Contact our experts
Dr Rebecca Harwin, author of Conquer Your PCOS Naturally, www.conqueryourpcosnaturally.com
Julie O'Connell-Seamer, natural health practitioner, Live Blood Screening specialist,
Nalisha Patel, beauty and wellness expert, www.LookForever30.com
Karina Stewart, doctor of traditional Chinese medicine, Kamalaya co-founder, www.kamalaya.com
Lydia Thomas, naturopath, holistic skin expert, www.appleblossomhealth.com.au
Paul Harper, metabolic analyst, nutritionist, www.highenergyhealth.com
Domini Stuart is a 61-year-old author, speaker, creator of Yoga Exercises for Beginners & Beyond, www.doministuart.com
Emily Holmes, wellness coach, www.conscious-foodie.com
Physiotherapist Jason Smith, author of Get Yourself Back In Motion, www.backinmotion.com.au